Expressing emotions is something that doesn’t come naturally to some children, and for others is does. It can depend on whether they have a good role model, but for some children expressing emotions is really difficult and they need some help identifying (and labelling) emotions and how to handle them. For example, being “upset” is not always the word to express frustration, anger, rejection, annoyed, furious, mad, disappointed or irritated. So why should we label our emotions? If we can understand how we feel, we can regulate (control) ourselves better, and communicate better with others.

Something as simple has having a chat with your children about how to handle difficult emotions may help, and googling some images of expressions can be helpful too. There are lots of charts there that you can use. If your children are having trouble regulating (controlling) their emotions, like being overly sad and down, being over excited and can’t calm down, or really angry and lashing out, then you may need to take them to see the GP or perhaps seek some specialist help for them with emotional regulation.

Picture books are a great low cost way to get the ball rolling, and start teaching your children about different emotions. Here are 5 books to get started, and there are more on our website:

Flare by Kallie George

Flare is a tough little phoenix. He never cries. But everyone needs to cry sometimes. Will his guardians, Sun, Wind and Cloud, find a way to show him how? The second book in the Tiny Tails series provides comforting reassurance that it’s okay to express our emotions.

This book has colourful illustrations by award winning author Genevieve Cote, and short chapters, making it very easy to read. Older children will be able to read this book themselves. A beautiful story about a beautiful bird, with a beautiful ending.

This is a short story about empathy, compassion, and expressing your feelings, for ages 5 to 8.


The Day No One Was Angry by Toon Tellegen

Twelve stunningly illustrated, poetic, and funny stories about grumpy animals from an internationally acclaimed Dutch writer and a hugely popular French illustrator.

In 12 short chapters, we see different animals in various states of anger. Some try to understand their anger, some try to tame it, while others let their anger overwhelm them.

These stories are funny and wry, but also offer a gently profound reflection of the nature of human emotions. For ages 9 and over.


The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness by Colin Thompson

George lives with his grandmother and a big empty space where his mother and father should be. One Friday on his way home from school, George visits the animal shelter. There, in the very last cage, is Jeremy, a sad dog who looks as lost and lonely as George feels. When Jeremy comes home to live with George and his granny, their whole lives change, and they learn that when it comes to love, it’s quality not quantity that counts . . .

You can feel the loneliness, the sadness and the disconnect the boy has with his Grandma. George befriends a disabled dog from the pound. This is where the mood of the book takes a turn and becomes quite uplifting and very enjoyable to read.

This is a story for adults to read to children, from pre-primary through to mid primary school. A book about loneliness, sadness, disability, love, kindness, joy, and helping others. A must read! For ages 5 to 8.


Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl

This is a lovely board book for a toddler with simple words and large sized words. Single colour backgrounds highlight the monkey and the words. The story is about a monkey who is having a tough time. It shows how he feels (sad, mad and angry) and how he copes (cry, take a deep breath, sing a song). For ages 2 to 4. 


The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her?

This is a great picture book with bright, colourful illustrations that children will relate to. Some pictures take up a whole page, and others are like a cartoon strip. Choose this picture book if you would like a story to help your child who is anxious or worrying about day-to-day things, or bigger things. We think this picture book is good as it details the specific worries, how Jenny tries to get rid of her worries, how she asks for help, and then stops asking for help. Then help arrives, and the book shows how the worries are dealt with. For ages 3 to 8.

Please visit our website to find these books are more to help your child through different challenges in life and their feelings. We have many different categories.

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